Chairman's Report 2014

Chairman’s report 2014

This year we celebrate 10 years since the formation of the “Friends of S. George” on 23 April 2004. We began with 93 founder members of which 40 are still members. Our membership at the end of 2013 stood at 80 members. Our attempts to increase our membership have been quite successful but many of our original members have now died and often people do not renew. We are extremely grateful for the continued support of our members and those who celebrate the full 10 years with us have contributed significantly to our purpose of fundraising.

We are a voluntary organisation and our object is “to beautify and assist in the maintenance of the parish church of S. George, Cullercoats in the Diocese of Newcastle and to preserve and protect it as a place of Christian Worship”.

The year 2013/2014 has been a difficult year for the Parish when the financial assistance of the Friends has been sought to cope with emergency fabric restoration. We wrote to members before Christmas explaining the effect of the closure of the church outside of service times for 4 months for security reasons owing to the vandalised vestry doors. We also informed members of the stonework which fell from the tower and came through the newly restored roof. The repairs to the vestry doors, the roof and the work of the steeplejacks to make safe stonework on the tower and steeple have come at a cost because insurance claims have not fully covered the cost of the work. In the midst of all of this emergency repair work the church was committed to a £22,000 repair and replacement of the lead to the Lady Chapel windows. The Friends therefore have given the church £13,000 during the past year either in loans or grants to support restoration.

Whilst the Friends managed the Booksale in 2013 the proceeds went straight to church funds. The Booksale planned for 2014 will support the finances of the Friends to recover some of the outgoings in 2013.

We also, for the first time, had to introduce a Christmas Appeal to members of the Friends and all parishioners to generate additional income for the additional repairs to fabric and this was very successful raising over £1,400. We gained some new memberships as a result of this appeal.  

We welcomed many people to the church on The Heritage Open Days and Exhibition in September. We have committed to supporting Heritage Open Days again this year and details of the dates are included in your AGM booklet.

Blyth & Gerry Johnson hosted a members’ night at their home in October when first sight of our planned new website was introduced. I am glad to report that the website is now live and your committee are constantly considering ways to improve the impact of this website.  

In the ten years since our formation the Friends have given the church invaluable financial support towards restoration of the church building, a sum of over £73,000. This could not have been achieved without your support and membership and I thank you for this wholeheartedly.  Nor could our achievements have been possible without the hard work, dedication and commitment of the Friends Committee for which I thank them. My term as chairman comes to an end this year. Thank you for your support, I have enjoyed this privilege.

Do continue to send your comments and ideas as to how we can develop the Friends and our activities.  We appreciate your views very much and your support.

 

Canon Helen Brunton (Chairman)